Growing and caring for roses during summertime is not easy. Blazing sun, heat, an absence of the rain, and extra high temperature are very challenging on all types of gardening, not only for roses (for us humans, too). The real challenge comes each year when roses face high heat all summer long and water seems to be the one important thing that helps.
We all hear this advice to water, water and water during summer. But what if there is no rain and there's water restrictions in place? Does that mean it's the end of rose gardening and we should call it quit?
For some, it can be very discouraging to carry on. My heart goes out to all plants, trees, flowers, veggies, farmers, and garderners who are facing such tough times. I hope these tips can help alleviate the summer struggles for your roses in some ways.
Mulch, mulch and mulch
Put on multiple layers of mulch (about 2 inches) at the base of your roses. Mulch helps retain moisture so that water and moisture won't escape from soil too fast after watering. I prefer all natural, no dye version of mulch like hardwood and cedar so when they break down, it's better for the soil.
Try to avoid black dyed mulch as that can draw more heat. If available, try all natural or light colored mulch. If that is not available, use what you can find. It's better than not having anything.
Provide some afternoon shades for your roses
If you have your roses in pots and can move them, move them to shady areas on the days you can't water so at least they won't dry out as bad as the ones sitting out under the sun (hopefully).
For roses in ground, you may try provide some shades using big umbrellas to provide some shade in the afternoon.
Water deeply and give them extra on the days that you can
They must be extra thirsty by now so try to water them either early in the morning or late in the evening. I've been watering around 7 or 8pm and that works out great too.
Use bigger pots
If you have potted roses, bigger pots will retain more water/moisture than small pots as well. Move your roses from nursery pots to better, bigger, thicker pots.
Save and use water from your everyday household water (from the sink when rinsing veggies/fruits)
I use a storage tote in my kitchen by the sink to store water when I rinse veggies and fruits. You'll be surprised how much that fills up. It is not convenient to drag it in and out to water, but that's better than nothing.
Get rain barrels
Some cities offer them at special prices during springtime. Check your city. If not, try Facebook marketplace as they have some at great prices. Another option is to buy big trash can which you can use to store rainwater. It tends to rain a bit more in spring so saving the rainwater to use on the non-rainny days is not a bad idea.
If you planted your roses in ground, they don't need as much water as you think. I water 2-3 times per week for my in ground roses even during summer. My backyard is South-facing. A large part of the yard doesn't get any afternoon shade until 7pm. Roses have deep root system. Hence why it is important to water deeply so your roses will develop strong roots and send the roots down in search for water.
If you have roses in pots, consider bigger pots to retain more moisture/water. It can help some.
Roses are hardier than most of us think. Their delicate flowers don't indicate that they are fragile plants. I have had one rose for almost 10 years going through all kinds of challenges. When I started planting I had no clue about rose care and no strong passion (not a knockout rose either, it's a Weeks rose - Sparkle amd Shine). I planted and barely watered, never sprayed. It went through years of purely relying on mother nature and it's still alive and standing tall in my garden.
These tips won't fix your summer rose struggles 100%, but I hope they help a bit to get you and your roses through these summer months. Afterall, you are doing what you can for your plants that are in your control. Take are, we are half way through hot months.